In a bid to take affirmative action over unabated pollution of river Ganga, the Uttarakhand High Court issued a set of mandatory directives to be carried out by Central and state authorities. Among others, the high court directed a special audit to be done by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of all Centrally-financed schemes to check alleged misuse of funds.
Lalit Miglani, an advocate in the high court, had filed a PIL highlighting the pollution of river Ganga and alleged negligence of the authorities in discharge of their statutory duties.
Disposing off the petition, a division bench of Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Alok Singh passed an exhaustive list of time-bound directives but also held that ‘the court, though, cannot direct the Legislature to frame the laws, but since, there is an emergency to protect the river Ganga from extinction, the court can, at least, make a suggestion to the Union of India to make national law to protect river Ganga.’
The court further observed that despite the fact that billions of rupees have been spent for restoration of quality of water of river Ganga, the quality of its water ‘instead of being restored as per the norms, has further deteriorated’.
The bench urged the people to ‘change rituals with passage of time’ to restore the purity of the water for future generations. The need for a ‘comprehensive legislation at the national level dealing with the Ganga alone’ was highlighted in the face of proven inadequacy of current legislations and their inefficient implementation.
Highlighting the obligation of the state under Article 47 and the fundamental duty of the general public under Article 51 A to protect the natural environment, the court issued the following mandatory directives to control pollution of Ganga: